23 September 2015

Argentina - Low hikes, high hikes!

Rio Bonito
After heavy rain overnight, the day dawned cloudy but not too cold.
The amazing air here just beckons one to get out so we headed for one of our favourite walks down the Rio Bonito river to the lake. The roar of the water tumbling over the huge boulders on the river bed is music to my ears.

Our friendly dog!
Just around the bend a dog met us - another one this time! Do we exude dog friendly vibes or are they just waiting for anybody to latch onto for another walk?
This dog was an absolute treat - she kept picking up stones, saying "please throw this for me!" Getting the stones either off the path or from in the water - either way worked for her. Eventually, James decided to try a stick - this worked just as well!

The dog walked us all the way to the lake and then indicated that she wanted the stick thrown into the water! The lake was like glass this morning and the dog caused a few ripple effects.
With not another soul in sight we walked all the way back throwing either stones or sticks. At the car we said good-bye and the dog wagged her tail and wandered back towards the houses.
A fun walk for all 3 of us.
The gorgeous view of the lake after our walk down Rio Bonito

 The clouds were reflected in the lake and the views were incredible. Not so easy to capture on camera without doing a panorama shot.

 This afternoon our hike was much tougher being uphill all the way to Cerro Belvedere. And it really was uphill all the way. The lazy people do it on horseback, the very fit run up, the school kids puff and pant even more than I do. So besides needing an oxygen tank, I only could rely on my Nordic walkers. I persevered and made it to the view point where there is a sign indicating another route of 3 or 4 hours. Thanks - but not today!

The village of Villa Angostura is way, way below and the bridge over the Rio Correntoso can be seen far away in the distance where we were hiking earlier in the week.
It's a glorious hike but be warned that it is pretty tough unless you are fit as a fiddle.
I don't profess to be a galloping granny so taking it in easy steps works for me!
Who can fail with all that amazing air, the forests and bird song all around?
We should sleep well tonight!

Next morning:
Another good hike is Ultima Esperanza.
Ultima Esperanza Hike

This is accessed off the road to Chile and there is parking on the right with the start of the hike on the left. There are sticks available but if you have your own hiking sticks take them along. There are some ups and quite slippery downs after all the recent rain. The flora is great and we loved the "holly" Whether it is called that in Argentina I have no idea. The trees are gorgeous and the hike ends at the lake after approx. 45 minutes walk.
It was very cloudy so the photos are not great but the water again is crystal clear.
One of the group trying to take photos with a GoPro!
The hike is rated "facil" but a guy of about 45 was puffing and panting even more than I was!
We came to a clearing where the floor was just a carpet of leaves, lying thick one upon the other, to make a soft bed.
Some of the tree trunks are covered in thick, green moss and make for interesting shots.
All in all, another great hike in Villa Angostura.

We tried to drive to the border with Chile but chains are compulsory and the snow markers are very high! While there is currently no snow on the road we would not get our car through the border unfortunately. So near yet so far!  I would have loved to cross the Andes mountains at this point!
Hike to Aguada Del Burro:

Once again this hike is reached by travelling towards Chile. The hike is not signposted but as we were in a group it did not matter.
The start was scary - very steep down with everybody slipping and sliding. Thankfully my Nordic walkers kept me upright, although with great difficulty!
One guy gave up and returned to his car.

The path is very narrow and at a certain point people had to climb underneath a huge fallen tree. I was about to give up at this stage but the guide told me to wait . I had horrid visions of him trying to haul me over this huge truck - the image was not pretty! But he cheated as there was a path around so all those poor people scrambled on all fours for nothing!

After more slippery slopes we reached the beach on the lake. Then it was another treacherous single file trip to view the waterfall. There were so many in the group that it was difficult to get close.
Trying to negotiate back to allow others to pass was another nightmare! However I received many helping hands in hauling me along - I have never said so many "gracias" as in such a short space of time.
We were then offered buns and a sweet, hot drink before winding our way upwards again. Strangely enough, going back was not too bad at all.
We have thoroughly enjoyed all the hikes in the Villa Angostura area - they are stunning.

© Judelle Drake

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